Archive for the ‘What Works’ Category

Tributes to George Kelling

July 5, 2019

Three new 4-minute audio clips available on BJA’s Executive Session on Police Leadership site — a tribute by Darrel Stephens (chief, PERF director, MCCA director), who was a young patrol officer in Kansas City when he met Kelling in 1972 as part of the preventive patrol experiment; a remembrance by Steve Edwards (BJA, NIJ, COPS), who worked for George at the Police Foundation and at Harvard; and Kelling himself on 5 suggestions for police leaders.


George Kelling passes away

May 16, 2019

Noted author and researcher George Kelling has passed away at age 83, as reported here. Born in Milwaukee, son of a firefighter, a social worker by training, he led pioneering studies of motorized patrol and foot patrol for the Police Foundation starting in the early 1970s and then authored the influential “broken windows” thesis in the 1980s with James Q. Wilson. He had an enormous impact on police thinking, police strategies, and multiple generations of police leaders. His work was an early example of evidence-based policing and his studies and writing were very influential in the development of community policing.

Reducing crime podcasts

May 12, 2019

The first 10 installments in an entertaining series of 20-40 minute podcasts focused on crime and crime reduction are available here. Each podcast is hosted by Professor Jerry Ratcliffe, formerly a police officer in the UK, and features an expert police practitioner or policing researcher.

EBP in New Zealand

April 29, 2019

This article profiles the work of the Evidence-Based Policing team in the New Zealand Police. The unit is staffed with researchers, data scientists, and design experts and has university and private sector partners. The plan is to conduct short- and long-term field experiments in order to develop key information related to police effectiveness, since “We are sending people out into our communities every day. We need confidence the work they are doing actually works.”

Video on evidence-based policing

April 19, 2019

A new 15-minute video explaining evidence-based policing is available here. It provides examples, features several leading academic and police experts on the topic, and is presented in a clear, uncomplicated way.

Detrimental effects of police stops

April 10, 2019

Police street stops of adolescent boys of color cause psychological distress and lead to increased delinquent behavior, according to a new study published by the National Academies of Science. The study followed a sample of black and Latino 9th and 10th graders from 6 high schools in one city over an 18-month period. Of the sample, 40% reported experiencing at least one street stop during the study period. Those stopped were not more likely to have self-reported prior delinquency, but subsequently did report more distress and more delinquency. The findings “suggest that police stops are associated with harmful outcomes for young boys in … [high crime areas], and that they may be even more harmful when they occur earlier in boys’ lives.”

Best practices in EIS

April 4, 2019

The National Police Foundation has published a 14-page best practices guide on Early Intervention Systems (EIS), which are tools designed to identify patterns of behavior that can be addressed before they turn into serious performance problems or even misconduct. The guide thoroughly explains the rationale behind EIS, reviews studies on how well the systems work, and identifies common myths that law enforcement agencies should avoid.

Mixed results from body cams

March 26, 2019

Body-worn cameras have now been widely adopted by police agencies, likely passing the 50% mark in 2017. The results so far have been mixed, as summarized here based on the latest review of multiple studies. Body cams seem to reduce complaints against police, whether due to better police behavior or reduced frivolous complaints (or both). Also, police video footage is increasingly used by prosecutors, for example in domestic violence cases. But the studies have not found a consistent impact on police use of force, suspect resistance, or citizen satisfaction with police interactions.

Effectiveness of stop & frisk

March 14, 2019

Over-reliance on stop & frisk in some U.S. cities has been criticized in recent years, while “stop & search” is currently hotly debated in the U.K. as a response to increased violence, especially knife crime. This new paper summarizes existing evidence on whether these practices reduce crime and adds analysis of police and crime data from London. The evidence indicates a marginal effect when stop & search is applied in conjunction with targeted “hot spots” interventions, but little if any impact when it is implemented more widely. Also noted is huge variation in usage of the practice between otherwise comparable forces, suggesting that politics and police culture are driving strategy more than scientific evidence.

Tech solutions

March 8, 2019

Two articles out today illustrate potential benefits from modern technology. One describes a mobile app that enables police officers handling a mental health incident to “video chat a physician, therapist or case worker to evaluate the patient at the scene and direct them to a clinic or mental hospital instead of the ER” — pilot testing found a 22% reduction in ER and jail visits saving an average of $847 per call, as reported here. The other describes a test of augmented/virtual reality in disaster response training for EMS personnel — “People who trained on the digital model were 45% more accurate and nearly 30% faster … than those who only received traditional classroom training,” as reported here.